Transgender Models Reshaping the Fashion Industry

While the fashion industry still has a long way to go in terms of reaching equality in representation, it is encouraging to see transgender and non-binary people making huge steps towards inclusivity and positive change. Today, trans models grace the runways without anyone blinking an eye, and with these talented individuals foraying into the mainstream on TV shows such as Pose and Euphoria, transgender models are making waves in the fashion industry. Here are 5 of today’s most influential trans fashion figures. 

 

Hunter Schafer

Hunter Schafer’s career began at the age of 18, and in just a few years she was walking the runways of Dior, Miu Miu and Rick Owens. If you didn’t catch Schafer on the covers of V, Dazed and Paper, no fear; Schafer’s debut acting role on the HBO show Euphoria has put Schafer firmly into the mainstream where she continues to trailblaze as a trans-activist. As a high school student, Schafer protested for trans rights, even suing North Carolina over the controversial bathroom bill, which requires people to use public restrooms according to their assigned gender. 

 

Valentina Sampaio

Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio’s career has seen her consistently representing leaps and bounds towards inclusivity in the fashion industry. She was the first openly trans model to appear on the cover of Vogue Paris, and in 2019 became the first openly trans model to work for Victoria’s Secret for their ‘Pink’ campaign. IN 2020, she became the first trans model featured in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. She has also been the face of beauty brands including L’Oreal, Marc Jacobs and Dior. 

 

Nathan Westling 

In 2021, Nathan Westling is a runway legend. He made his debut for Marc Jacobs in 2013 as Natalie, and has starred in campaigns for Chanel, Dior, Versace and Prada. He took a break from modelling in 2018 to focus on his health, where he began transitioning. Nathan credits his experience with the fashion world with his self-discovery, and has since appeared on the covers of both I-D and Dazed. 

 

Teddy Quinlavan 

Teddy Quinlaven is a fashion icon. After walking the runway for such brands as Chanel, Louis Vitton and Gucci, Teddy came out as transgender in 2017. Since her transition, Teddy has appeared on numerous magazine covers and beauty brand campaigns, including Milk Makeup, Redken and Maison Margiela fragrances. In 2020, Teddy became the first openly transgender to work with Chanel, starring in their most recent beauty campaign.s

 

Jari Jones

Jari Jones is an actress, artist, model and activist and is a rising star in the fashion world. As one of the newer faces to Calvin Klein’s 2020 Pride #ProudInMyCalvins campaign, she used this platform to voice the importance of representing black trans lives. “I think it’s so important to see the rage and fight, but also see imagery of what the possibilities can be — imagery of Black joy, trans joy, because often all we see is the negative imagery."